LibriVox recording of Olalla, by Robert Louis Stevenson. Read by Elizabeth Klett.
"Olalla" was a "shilling shocker" written for the Christmas season in 1885, just before the publication of Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The nameless protagonist of this Gothic tale, a wounded soldier, goes to the Spanish countryside to recuperate. He finds himself enthralled by the beautiful Olalla, the daughter of his hostess, whose family conceals a terrible secret. (Summary by Elizabeth Klett)
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May 5, 2013 Subject:
I became aware of this novella via a Kickstarter from a university group to republish it and create an audiobook, which I thought odd because it’s still in print, is already available as part of an ebook, and there’s a Librivox edition. The group describing it bill it as a vampire novel that predates Dracula, but that’s an oversimplification of the story, or at least it chooses a single, superficial interpretation which is likely to be commercially appealing. It’s in the Gothic style, and is more about mood that plot, so the novella format fits it superbly. Stevenson takes his exercise in style as far as he can, and then truncates it before it starts to drag. Recommendable to those who like Gothic stories, aren’t bothered by character types which later become clichés, and won’t feel disappointed if the “vampiric” reveal is weak.